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Improving Retail Waste Management During COVID-19

The coronavirus pandemic has caused significant changes in every industry, but each will have noticed a difference in their waste. In the midst of slow but steady developments towards sustainability in retail, COVID-19 has upended business priorities with more pressing concerns for staff and customer safety.

Although on face value it seems that sustainability has improved since the pandemic thanks to reduction in transportation, the return of wildlife,  and concerns over how air pollution aids the virus, the high increase in single-use items presents a worrying dilemma, but also a currently necessary evil.

The full scope of disposable plastic waste during COVID isn’t known yet, but the Ministry of Ecology and Environment in China believes that hospitals alone in Wuhan produced 200 tonnes more daily waste during the outbreak’s peak than during normal times.

Retail Waste Issues from COVID-19

Many retail outlets have had to instigate new ways of serving and protecting their customers with single-use items. Everything from industrial sized vats of antibacterial gel to blue roll, disposable gloves, masks, and disinfectant bottles are being binned in vast quantities. More items are returning to plastic wrapping to protect them from being touched. This waste is in addition to the usual waste items such as damaged goods, out of date produce, packaging, cardboard, and more.

But is your retail waste being disposed of correctly? Have recycling and sustainability promises flown out the window? Is your waste management good enough to handle this change?

During this uncertain period, several businesses are taking the opportunity to rethink their processes, and this often includes thinking for sustainability. Increasing pressure from both the government and customers for businesses to go green provides plenty of incentive to do so. Zero waste to landfill is one such goal, and especially important in light of COVID-based waste.

How to Reduce Retail Waste

Aside from the single-use PPE issue, here are several ways to reduce the amount of other waste your business produces, from production through to sales:

  • Go digital: by switching your accounts and invoicing process to a computer, you can reduce the amount of paper wastage from your company and improve accuracy.
  • Improved stock management: by implementing a digital stock management system, you can keep up to date with trends and metrics based on your order histories to avoid over-ordering items and to improve fulfilment times.
  • Reduce unnecessary packaging: audit the suppliers, manufacturers, and packaging of your products; are there any areas where processes could be less energy-intensive or less wasteful? Do your products need all that packaging, and if so, are there more sustainable alternatives?
  • Suitable waste management: the waste requirements of each business vary depending on its size, the products or services it sells, the manufacturing process behind them, and more. Ensure your staff are appropriately aware of where specific waste should go and use separate bins for recyclables, food scraps, and general waste. If you’re unsure where to get started with improving your waste management or don’t have the time for an overhaul, consider outsourcing to a professional waste management service like Willshee’s.

Each of these methods will ultimately improve your company sustainability, reduce waste, and even help to increase customer satisfaction and loyalty by showing that your business cares about its impact. These ideas may even save your business money in the long-term.

Retail Sustainability and Commercial Recycling

The ugly truth about recycling in the UK is that much of the waste never actually gets recycled. Some waste companies collect items that they don’t have the capability to recycle. Some of this waste inevitably gets incinerated and much gets sent abroad, where the solutions to its disposal are varied.

Willshee’s, however, uses its own recycling centre in Burton-on-Trent, which is a great central location for reducing waste transportation energy. We are an environmentally conscious waste management company dedicated to helping businesses to recycle absolutely everything that can be recycled. We also capture residual energy from waste where possible, which will help you towards achieving a zero waste to landfill goal. For a full list of everything we can recycle, click here.

We provide a full and comprehensive service, from providing industrial recycling bins to waste collections tailored to fit around your company requirements and schedules. If your business produces vast amounts of recyclable waste, consider hiring a baler or compactor to compress the waste and create more space. Willshee’s can collect any size of bale, and offer bulk recycling services for large amounts of cardboard, paper, and plastic waste.

Willshee’s for Comprehensive Retail Waste Management

Although there is little we can do at present to combat this new wave of disposable items, we can still fight to reduce corporate waste. Regardless of your company’s size, trade, or location in the UK, Willshee’s can help to improve your waste processes, saving your business time and money. Get in touch today for a quote on 01283 702 340.


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